Gallup’s assessment of obesity in America illustrates some interesting trends. Blacks are more likely to be obese than any other race. 20.8% of Blacks received the distinction of falling into the obese class I. 8.8% were in obese class II and 6.0% in obese class III. The latter two categories are recognized as very obese. Asians were the least likely to be obese with only 7.6% falling into obese class I, 2.1% in obese class II, and 1.0% in obese class III. Overall, men are more likely than women to be obese, but a slightly higher percentage of women are categorized in obese class III (4.0% versus 2.9%). Additionally, unemployed Americans are more likely to be obese than those who possess a job.
Finally, both income and education are related to obesity levels. As Americans obtain higher levels of education (the study tracks those with high school or less up to postgraduate degrees), they are less likely to be obese. 5.2% of those who earn less than $36,000 a year have BMIs high enough to be categorized in obese class III, compared to just 1.8% of Americans who earn greater than $90,000 a year.
To be considered obese, one must have a body mass index (BMI) of over 30. For a person who is 5 feet 9 inches, his/her weight would need to rise above 203 pounds to be classified as obese. To fall under obese class III, that same person would need to weigh over 271 pounds.